Amplify aims to put a charge into teaching and learning with its debut of a new all-digital curriculum for teaching English Language Arts


AmplifyELA will be ready for purchase by the start of the 2014-15 school year.

Amplify, the ed-tech company owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., is best known for creating a line of education-focused tablet computers.

But that could change with its March 3 introduction of a new English Language Arts curriculum that “eliminates the need for textbooks altogether,” said Amplify CEO Joel Klein.

In a special briefing for the press on Feb. 28, Klein—former chancellor of New York City’s schools—said only “great, rich content” would accelerate the use of technology in schools.

That’s what Amplify has aimed to create with AmplifyELA, a fully digital curriculum for ELA instruction in grades 6-8.

“This is not some old wine in a new bottle, like a digitized textbook with a few animations,” said Klein. “We’ve brought together world-class instructional materials, rich multimedia, and a powerful analytics engine that will transform the way teachers teach and students learn.”

The Amplify curriculum includes a full year’s worth of scoped and sequenced materials with the Common Core in mind, featuring lessons on personal narratives, fiction, informational texts, poetry, and foundational documents.

Lessons include video clips of dramatic readings, such as actor Chadwick Boseman reading a passage from Frederick Douglass’s autobiography; story animations by Academy Award-winning animators; and “quests,” or experiential lessons that immerse students in texts through role-playing, close reading, evidence gathering, and discussion.

(Next page: Examples of ‘quests’—and what makes the new Amplify curriculum truly unique)